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Relying on Teaching Staff for School Communications: Quick Fix or Costly Error?

Schools that rely on their staff to oversee their communications are missing out in many ways.

If you’ve ever worked in education, you’ll know that teachers are some of the most committed, hard-working, and capable professionals around. At Eduprise, we’ve certainly got to know some incredibly impressive teaching staff.

Teachers are the driving force behind the amazing things that happen at their schools every day. It’s no wonder, then, in a world where funding is limited, that teaching staff are often depended upon to spread the news about those amazing things.

In this article, we investigate whether relying on teachers to produce school communications is a handy solution or a costly mistake.

The Pros

In their teaching staff, schools tend to have a very loyal workforce. Teachers want to work at a great school, and for the school to benefit from having a good reputation. As a result, content produced by teaching staff is likely to reflect these motivations and present the school in a positive light.

Secondly, teaching staff are where the action is. At Eduprise, a high proportion of the reputation-building good news stories we write initially come from liaising with teachers. Why not, therefore, simply have that teacher write the story themselves?

Finally, it is undeniably a cost-effective option. Why pay for additional capacity when you can rely on the staff you already employ?

These points are undeniably persuasive, but does that make it the right option?

The Cons

Teachers work extremely hard. A career in teaching offers more than just a stable income; it also provides a sense of fulfilment from being an essential part of young people's development. As a result, many teachers feel obligated to put more into their job than the terms of their contracts require. It is certainly the case that it's difficult to find many teachers who do not put in significant overtime.

Communicating on behalf of a school is a serious responsibility that can easily go wrong or be done poorly. By placing this load on teachers, education leaders risk damaging the wellbeing of their staff. Furthermore, no employee has an unlimited capacity to work. By asking teachers to divert time away from their day-to-day responsibilities to write communications, there is a risk that the quality of their everyday work will suffer.

Earlier, we mentioned the advantage of teaching staff being at the source of a school’s good news stories. While this is the case, it’s one thing to be involved in a positive story; but it’s another to be able to identify it and correctly assess its value. At Eduprise, we often find the teachers we work with don’t see some of the fantastic things happening at their school as the great stories they are, simply because it's something they see as a routine part of their profession.

In contrast, we're able to identify the value these stories have, produce engaging content, and spread the news far and wide — to prospective parents, the press, the local community, and all stakeholders.

Finally, communications are complicated. An ad-hoc approach to content production and reputation building is unlikely to get you very far. Achieving lasting positive outcomes in communications demands:

  • The simultaneous use of numerous digital communications channels, each of which requires specific knowledge and experience.
  • Long-term planning and strategy to time campaigns around important dates in the year, such as admissions or recruitment deadlines.
  • Expertise in a broad range of skills, from copywriting to digital design to web administration.

Many teaching staff may well be proficient in certain areas of a good communications department. It should be evident, however, that it is extremely unrealistic to expect teaching staff to fulfil even half of these demands to a high standard with what little spare capacity they have available.

The Verdict

As the fundamental drivers of any good school, teaching staff will always play an important role in school communications. However, relying on them to produce content and lead campaigns benefits neither the staff nor the school itself.

At Eduprise, we help schools establish an engaging online presence, improve their reputation, and boost admissions numbers while also taking the pressure off their teaching staff. If you’d like to know more about the packages we can offer, contact us today.

Published by
Adam Barker-Wyatt

Producing content and communications on behalf of schools and multi-academy trusts.

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